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Less fascinating is the same composer’s Margherita d’Anjou, an earlier work from his Italian period. A curious plotline sees a widowed Margaret of Anjou adopting disguise to avoid the Duke of Gloucester (Richard III), as well as the attentions of a French duke, whose suspicious wife also disguises herself to have a good snoop. So, when this production from Martina Franca starts with a contemporary catwalk show, and continues to blend the mad world of fashion with that of reality TV, I think that more is gained than lost. All the disguises and extravagant personalities come into sharper focus in Alessandro Talevi’s witty production: Margharita runs a couture house; the French duke is a pop star; the buffo baritone a TV ‘sleb’, cameraman always in tow. Giulia De Blasis’s secure soprano enjoys the Bellinian grace of Act II more than the Rossinian fizz of Act I. Anton Rositskiy astonishes with his tenorial bravura, and Marco Filippo Romano is an excellent buffo who obviously knows no onstage shame. Gaia Petrone’s supple mezzo as the disguised wife completes a strong cast. Fabio Luisi keeps a sensibly safe distance in the pit, and lavishes affection upon the score, which becomes more interesting as it develops.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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